Dear Diary

June 11, 2014

Hurtling toward the inevitable future.


Editor’s note: Marah is still in Damascus, but her editors at Syria Deeply just sent us this entry, which she wrote before she left.

Tomorrow my dreams will come true. I will bid my family farewell, leave my hometown, and head to Damascus, the capital of Syria, to sit for my high school final exams.

I’m happy and scared at the same time. The fear is overwhelming! I will have to go through two checkpoints, where I will be searched and asked for my identification papers. Supposing I’m able to pass safely through the checkpoints, the next step will be to go to the home of some of my relatives, with whom I’ll be staying. How will life be with them? I don’t know them super well, and this will be my first time staying at their house. Will I feel comfortable?

I’m currently studying as much as I can. But the harsh living conditions here and regular power outages don’t always allow me to study well.

I often wonder if I will be able to fulfill my bigger dreams, and whether I am worthy of them. My mother’s happiness hinges on my success. She has worked herself to the bone to get me to where I am today. She smiles at me, but I know she’s even more confused and scared than I am. She tries to reassure me, but I know that she’s worried. I can tell she’s heartbroken to see me leave home. I will miss hearing her voice.

What if I don’t make it back? What I never see my siblings—two sisters and a little brother—again? I am not ready to face the possibility of losing them. I’m a bundle of nerves. I always blamed my mother for not letting me continue my studies in our hometown, but right now, I am wishing she would stop me from getting on the road to Damascus.

I wonder what fate has in store for me. Will it smile at me? For the first time in the two months since I started this diary, I’m writing it with a shaky hand and teary eyes. ♦

Marah’s diary is produced in collaboration with Syria Deeply, a digital news outlet covering the Syrian crisis. It was translated from the Arabic by Mais Istanbelli.


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  • DymondMag June 11th, 2014 7:06 PM

    everyone’s writing is so beautiful. Marah’s entry really touched me, her writing is quite poetic at times yet she has such excellent control over it. I look forward to seeing more of her beautiful writing in the future!

  • ray sims June 11th, 2014 7:11 PM

    lilly makes me wish even more that i had picked up a sport when i was younger!!! hope the tryouts go well <3

  • book_kitty June 11th, 2014 7:18 PM

    Ahhh Britney I’m so happy for you and you are beautiful and amazing and remember that she loves you just the way you are ;)

    Marah, thank you for giving me perspective and humanizing the conflict in Syria with stories and moments, not facts and news articles that only seem to distance us (North Americans and other developed, peaceful countries) and reminding me that although I may complain about my upcoming exams, it is really a privelige.

    and Lilly, your diaries so far have really intrigued me because you are so different from who I am and it’s interesting to get this different POV.

  • flapperhatgirl June 11th, 2014 7:36 PM

    Good luck on the exams, Marah!

  • ColoredSoft June 12th, 2014 11:57 AM

    Fuck, I hope Marah is okay.

    • ColoredSoft June 12th, 2014 12:03 PM

      Lilly you better woooooork you got this, girl :)
      Britney, I’m glad you are happy!! Remember that you’re amazing, remember that for yourself.
      Again, thank you for sharing your vulnerability with us, Marah. For all my life I’m not going to forget your diaries. Wishing you good luck!!

  • itsaoifedahling June 12th, 2014 3:23 PM

    Britney you deserve to be happy <3
    Marah your courage is unbelievable and you inspire me to look at the big picture every day.
    Lilly I hope you made the team and if you didn't, that you're satisfied you did your best. You picked a good time to come here (ireland) for once it's not raining! Hope you have a magical time !

  • beansprout June 12th, 2014 7:10 PM

    “Nothing is perfect, but everything is better.” I really liked that line Britney like really a lot a lot wow. I think I understand that feeling.

  • itssabine June 15th, 2014 5:16 AM

    Britney, your entry made me smile. Beautifully written and it felt really hopeful to me.
    I am always amazed by Marah’s writing. It’s so clear and controlled, yet filled with so much feeling. Beautiful.

  • khuloodf June 20th, 2014 12:31 PM

    I’m so happy that Marah is persevering and continuing with all her plans despite the crisis. Many others have dropped out of school or probably would not have taken such a risk, but I’m so proud of her for doing it anyway. Thank you for valuing your education, and thank you for seeing hope for yourself despite your seemingly hopeless surroundings. It is youth with courage and big dreams that will pick the country back up when this is all over. As long as there are people who refuse to give up, we are not truly lost.